Reducing food waste is a major issue and not just about good food going to waste; wasting food costs the average family with children £680 a year and has serious environmental implications too.
If we all stop wasting food that could have been eaten, the CO2 impact would be the equivalent of taking 1 in 4 cars off the road.
"Love Food, Hate Waste" is brought to you by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), as part of the Department of the Environment's Rethink Waste campaign.
Why we should reduce our food waste
The vast majority of us already think throwing away good food is a dreadful waste. Hence the name of our campaign 'Love Food, Hate Waste'.
There are serious environmental implications too. The amount of food we throw away is a waste of resources. Just think about all the energy, water and packaging used in food production, transportation and storage. This all goes to waste when we throw away perfectly good food. Cheese is a good example – feeding and milking the cows, cooling and transporting the milk, processing it in to cheese, packing it, getting it to the shops, keeping it at the right temperature all the time. If it then gets thrown away it will most likely end up in a landfill site, where, rather than harmlessly decomposing as many people think, it rots and actually releases methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.
If we stopped wasting food which could have been eaten, it would have the same impact on carbon emissions as taking 1 in 4 cars off UK roads.
Tips for reducing our food waste
Stop before you shop
Check what is in your cupboard or freezer, not forgetting the back of the fridge, before you shop for more.
Make a list and shop with meals in mind. This will mean that you do not buy food unnecessarily and save you time and money.
Be careful of special offers and multi-buys especially on fresh goods – make sure you will use them.
Use it or lose it
Keep an eye on perishables you have and plan to eat meals with in their ‘use by’ date. View our advice about food date stamps.
Love your leftovers
Meals made from leftovers can be delicious and timesaving – whether its dinner from the night before or food left in the fridge or
cupboard. Do your own ‘Ready Steady Cook’ and see what meals you can make. Try using an on-line recipe database to give you some inspiration. When cooking for a family – take a few minutes to measure food out – perhaps into a favourite cup – so you get the right portion per person.
No more soggy surprises
Keeping your fridge between 1-5 degrees centigrade helps you get the best of your food.
Leaving food such as milk, cooked meat and salad can cut shelf life by 100%.
Make good use of the fridge and freezer to keep food better – for example, most ripe fruit can be kept in the fridge to make it last longer.
Consider your options
Chilled and fresh food has become more popular over recent years – however sometimes it may be worth purchasing frozen or ambient food to increase shelf life at home. This is particularly useful if your meal times are more unplanned due to work or family schedules.
Remember, that often fresh and chilled produce can be frozen at home if it is not going to be used in time.
You can also influence the shelf life of your cupboard storage,
Store root vegetables in a dark place away from other fruit and vegetables.
Store cereals, flour, rice, pasta and other dry goods in airtight containers.
Close packets and bags with airtight bag clips. There are many ingenious products available to protect the quality of your food.
Start composting at home
Home compost your peelings and cores, this is a great way to prevent unavoidable food waste such as peelings, cores and teabags ending up in landfill and can do wonders for the garden.
Visit the http://www.lovefoodhatewasteni.org website for tips, recipes and much more